Governors Ball 2014 Day 2 Review & Recap: The Strokes Slay NYC, Jack White Rocks Out and Everyone Sweats A Lot
The temperatures were rising and the music was pumping at Governors Ball 2014 Day Two on Saturday (June 7). After an electrifying Day One, which boasted sets from Outkast, Phoenix, Damon Albarn and more, the masses returned to Randall's Island once again, in order to get a glimpse of The Strokes live (among other acts).
Though the New York rockers were the most-anticpated acts of the day, sets from acts across all four stages were jam-packed with enthusiastic concertgoers, a marked improvement from yesterday's tepid crowds. Music Times was on site to take in the sites, sounds and sun, so check out our minute-by-minute recap below.
11:49 - Security staff was particularly grumpy today. Saw them emptying flasks, pill containers and, in what we hope was an isolated incident, a tube of sunscreen. -Ryan Book
12:25 - Walk into Governors Ball Day Two and immediately see no less than 10 The Strokes T-Shirts. Pretty obvious who people are excited for today... -Carolyn Menyes
12:31 - Hunter Hunted knows the best way for an up-and-coming band to grab the attention of early afternoon concertgoers: Play a recognizable cover, Hence the band's commendable take on the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind." -RB Along with Neutral Milk Hotel's "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea," I've seen small bands cover "Where Is My Mind" too many times to count. Nonetheless, I always enjoy it despite myself, and Hunter Hunted's rendition was particularly solid. And the crowd sure loved those "Ooos." -CM
12:34 - Pass Fitz and The Tantrums on way to the media tent. Thankfully they don't wear those suits all day...it's 83 friggin' degrees. -RB
12:45 - How many guitars is too many for one band? Depends on when the band starts to suck. Diarrhea Planet has not one, not two, not three, not four but...actually yeah. They have four guitarists. And they don't suck yet, so what the heck? A bunch of southerners playing a bunch of guitars? It's tough not to think of Lynyrd Skynyrd despite the difference in sound. The band lives up to its live reputation. -RB
1:00 - The biggest not-so-secret of Governors Ball 2014? Free booze in the Freeloaders Lounge for people with fancy wristbands. Don Julio tequilia for everybody (or some people)! #turntup -CM
1:27 - The festival gets its first repeat performance: Diarrhea Planet plays a cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya" near the end of its set. Here's looking for Earl Sweatshirt to cover the song on Sunday. -RB
1:33 - RJD2 produces a vinyl record from behind his set, to theoretically be used for actual scratching. The prospect produces glee for the watching crowd. -RB
2:30 - After leaving the photo pit for Deafheaven's set, it strikes us that George Clarke's vocals become more discernible the further we get from the stage. We propose that a cone of audibility is in play, but is it just for Clarke's voice or for every performer at the Gotham Tent? We lack the technology to test further. -RB
2:37 - Unlike Day One, which featured basically perfect weather, temperatures in New York City are starting to soar for jam-packed Day Two (highs eventually reached about 84 degrees, with very little shade). Tanlines, in the middle of its set jam-packed with zesty electro-indie was looking out for the crowd, making sure people were sipping on water. Furthermore, the band proved its NYC pedigree about making sure people get home safely. "Everybody have a plan to get home? That's how you know I'm a New Yorker. I'm thinking about that," said frontman Eric Emm. It's of note that despite the fact that 125th Street-Lexington Avenue is the closest subway stop, NYC's MTA is not running more 4/5 trains from the festival downtown, resulting in disastrously packed cars, with people in like cattle. Getting home from GovBall is just overall unpleasant. -CM
3:00 - The women of Lucius are wearing matching sparkling dresses, skirts and sunglasses, proving that the artists at Governors Ball are far and away cooler than its attendees. -CM
3:45 - Turns out most of the Gotham Tent turnout for Deafheaven was really just fans trying to get close early for Chance The Rapper's performance. Not every attendee can even fit into the shade offered by the tent-When Chance invokes the crowd to jump, those outside the tent decline, as to avoid LeBron James-style cramping. Nobody can resist however when he launches into a cover of "Believe In Yourself," Ziggy Marley's theme for the Arthur television program. -RB
4:06 - Fitz and the Tantrums are, like, the third band seen today that commented on the sweltering heat. But, these dudes still know how to work a crowd, continually calling the folks at the Big Apple Stage "sexy." You're sexy, too, Fitz and the Tantrums. Moreover, despite the blaring sun, everyone was jumping along to "Out Of My League."
5:00 - Mmm, the sweet, sweet sounds of Broken Bells' "Holding On For Life." Swoon. -CM
5:11 - Chance's grip on the Governors Ball audience has finally been broken by Disclosure's set at the Honda Stage. Swarms of fans migrate northward to see one of 2013's biggest critical successes. Fellow Govs Ball performer AlunaGeorge comes onstage to perform with the band for its track "White Noise." -RB
5:38 - Despite the supposed hipness of the Governors Ball clientele, dozens upon dozens of The Strokes' fans are unaware that you don't wear a T-shirt of the band you came to see. -RB
5:45 - Listeners could be forgiven for thinking the massive bass levels of The Glitch Mob was coming from the jet engine-shaped shaped apparatuses onstage, but those are actually thematically designed electric bass drums. Expect the bass assault to peak with Skrillex tonight. -RB
6:00 - The Naked and Famous look a little too cool for school, with all-black outfits and some cool shades at the Big Apple Stage.
These guys were one of my personal most-anticipated acts of GovBall 2014, and it's a true shame they're on just before The Strokes, as the crowd dwindles despite a rousing set full of atmospheric, light indie rock. "Young Blood" in particularly was jump-worthy, but man, gotta get a good spot for the big guns. -CM
6:35 - A fan in the front row of the main stage asked a security guard if the water bottle he's been eyeing belongs to anyone. It belongs to the guard. He graciously gives it to the fan, who has been in the spot since the gates opened at noon, all to see The Strokes. He'll have to wait another 15 minutes as the band shows up late. Frontman Julian Casablancas, performing for the second day in a row, looks somewhat like cult hero Super Hans from Peep Show when close-up. -RB
6:58 - Man, people are really pumped to see The Strokes today, with the crowd at the main stage nearly as packed now as it was for Outkast last night. (Poor Childish Gambino, who puts on a great show, he's just not The Strokes...) The band goes on about 10 minutes late for God knows what reason (Casablancas has been known to just peek other sets, unconcerned about his own). But, when they do go on, oh man. Personally, I've been waiting to see The Strokes for a decade, so when they open with "Barely Legal," well, I'm in my own personal heaven. Sounding as tight and sonically perfect as they do on record, The Strokes play through a crowd-pleasing set, chock full of hits. It's a shame these guys don't play live more often, because they're a well-oiled performing machine, and can really get an audience full of newly nostalgic indie lovers jumping. I should probably stop fangirling now. -CM
8:15 - Sensory overload with Sleigh Bells as the band turns it up to 11 and unleashes a wall of strobe lights. Alexis Krauss and Derek E. Miller trounce all around the stage in a whirlwind, adding to the effect. Last but certainly not least: the now famous tiger-striped Jackson guitar being played by Miller. Certainly in the running for the night's best set. -RB
8:35 - Organizers have the night's Stanley Cup game playing on a big-screen located near the midpoint between the two fields. The game has special relevance to New Yorkers this year as their hometown Rangers play the Los Angeles Kings for the professional hockey crown. Alas, L.A. would win 5-4 and take a two game lead. -RB
8:50 - Spoon was really, really thankful for its audience, as the band closed out the Big Apple Stage Saturday night, with lead singer Britt Daniel commenting that "We're the last ones on this stage, right? That means all the people here in the front are here for us, and that makes a huge difference." It was a really humbling moment, and you could tell he and the rest of the band were really, truly grateful to be playing at Governors Ball. The audience was grateful for Spoon, too, as the band zoomed through its biggest hits and even played a new song or two, from its newly announced August album They Want My Soul.
9:15 - The best thing about seeing Jack White live is that it's really like seeing a best-of set from three bands: White's solo project, The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. Opening up with a 10-minute jam session of The Stripes' anthem "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground," White seamlessly moved through his set, throwing in Lazaretto cuts with older, more seasoned favorites. White blended together blues, pure rock 'n' roll and even a little Southern country throughout his set, giving the folkiest take on "We're Going To Be Friends" that I've ever heard, and it was a really beautiful moment (but this song always is). -CM
9:30 - Scratch the earlier sensory overload comment. Skrillex left me chanting "muh" like a deafened Archer, praying that my hearing would return. The DJ's signature hairstyle bounced like a mad octopus on his head, and he directed an arsenal of laser lights and fog machines from atop his audio visual deathship (his stage set was, in fact, a spaceship). -RB
10:50 - I love it when audiences sing along to guitar parts, which is why "Seven Nation Army" live is always so satisfying live. Great way to close out Day Two. "Ooooh oh oh oh oh ooooh oh." -CM